Update 3/18/09: thanks to President Obama, our nation finally has some of its dignity back. We now officially endorse the U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.
While Jesus definitely would not have been ok with incarcerating, torturing, and executing homosexuals, this move is sure to anger "Christians" worldwide.
Benedict has been an extremely disappointing pope thus far. Here are reasons why:
1. Benedict voted against a UN resolution that would have called for member countries to decriminalize homosexuality. This bill does not try to legalize gay marriage or anything like that. It simply asserts that we shouldn't treat homosexuals like criminals. We shouldn't throw homosexuals in jail, execute them, torture them, or anything like that. Sounds pretty reasonable, doesn't it? Apparently not to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, the Taliban, and the Vatican.
2. Attempting to reinstate Holocaust deniers into the Catholic Church.
3. He quoted a centuries-old Crusader who described Islam as an abomination, but then wondered why a clash of civilizations continues to brew.
4. The newest one, and the greatest offense in my opinion. Regarding HIV transmission in Africa, Benedict said this: "you can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem."
Condoms obviously do reduce HIV transmission if used properly. One of the challenges facing public health agencies is education of the populace to use condoms consistently and effectively. Benedict has done a great job to undermine that education campaign by his ignorant and reckless words.
Meanwhile, abstinence-only education as touted by the Catholic Church will continue to be completely ineffective. No scientific study exists that can prove that abstinence-only education prevents people from having sexual intercourse. Funding that sort of education will only help the Church feel good about itself, but it won't actually help any people. This behavior is entirely consistent with the recent history of the church sweeping certain problems under the rug, of course. Protection of innocents is always secondary to politics. Always.
The one thing that has surprised me about Benedict, the politician, is that he mildly agrees with the theory of evolution. I predict that he rescinds his position on evolution in the next few years. That view just doesn't fit well with the rest of the ones he has. Its too logical and evidence-based.